the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

20 jefferson was somewhat mystified by madisons

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empowered national government, he wrote in code to Jefferson, had come and gone. 20 Jefferson was somewhat mystified by Madison’s message, in part because, even more than Jay, he enjoyed the luxury of distance from the debates in Philadelphia, and in part because he did not share Madison’s robust national agenda. He confided to Madison that a federal veto of state laws struck him as unnecessarily excessive, “like mending a small hole by covering the whole garment.” Jefferson always made it a practice to listen to the political advice of his younger protégé, so it is an intriguing but unanswerable question what side he would have taken if present in Philadelphia. His deepest convictions clearly lay on the confederation side of the political equation. Madison was Jefferson’s most trusted political disciple, but for the moment they were not properly aligned. 21 As he struggled to recover his political balance, Madison wrote to William Short, Jefferson’s secretary in Paris, to ask what the European savants thought of the new Constitution: I shall learn with much solicitude the comments of the philosophical statesmen of Europe on this new fabric of American policy. Unless however their future criticisms should evince a more thorough knowledge of our situation than many of their past, my curiosity
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will not be rewarded with much instruction. 22 Madison knew full well that most European observers—with a few French exceptions—expected and wanted the American experiment with a large-scale republic to fail. And again for the moment, he was worried that their hopes would be fulfilled because of his own failure to win the big battles in Philadelphia. He was living alone in bachelor quarters in New York City, waiting for the Confederation Congress, which was barely on life support, to gather a quorum. He was in a funk. What pulled him out of his sour mood was news from the field that the “Great Debate” had begun in the newspapers, and the states were beginning to select delegates for their conventions. “The newspapers in the middle & Northern States begin to teem with controversial publications,” Madison reported to Edmund Randolph, adding that the major criticism seemed to be that the Constitution lacked a bill of rights. (One could invent many elaborate reasons for the absence of a bill of rights, and Madison proceeded to do just that, but the real reason was that the delegates in Philadelphia were thoroughly exhausted after a summer of intense debates, and by September they wanted to go home.) Madison entered his lawyerlike mode again, just as he had before the Constitutional Convention, preparing rebuttals of the arguments beginning to emerge from the opposition. His very real reservations about that document now needed to be suppressed and concealed, lest they contaminate his case and endanger the verdict.
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